Race Sorting in Family Formation
15 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2015 Last revised: 21 Jul 2015
Date Written: April 22, 2015
Our laws afford enormous freedom not only to parents, but also to the intermediaries — adoption agencies, social workers, sperm banks, and egg vendors — that bring them together with (future) children. These middlemen routinely exercise this discretion to emphasize race in matching parents to the same-race gamete donors or adoptive children they tend to prefer.
This Symposium Essay provides a conceptual framework to govern the use of race in decisions about family formation. This spectrum of salience-varying ways to manage racial information ranges from those that lay the greatest emphasis on race to those that soften or altogether exclude its expression.
The Essay locates the operation of these different approaches in the law and practice of adoption and assisted reproduction. That race tends to reproduce itself within the family makes these unique contexts from which to ask what sort of racial self-understandings our multiracial democracy should seek to embody.
Keywords: Race-Matching, Adoption, Assisted Reproduction, Indian Child Welfare Act, Multiethnic Placement Act
JEL Classification: J12, J13, K19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation